A lot could be said about this weekend – about what transpired between Mi.Vida and I, both in and out of couples counseling. Part of me wants to get it all out there, but a much bigger part of me is so beaten down and tired, I just don’t think I can. Instead I’ll just explain where I am, at the end of all of it.
Actually, first I should explain where we are, as a couple. It’s been decided, with the guidance of our counselor S, that in one to two years, if we feel we’re more stable both financially and as a couple, we’ll talk about trying to have another baby. This means Isa will be 4-5 years old when her sibling is born, if we’re lucky enough to conceive again quickly and carry a second baby to term.
For the first part of the weekend, before that plan was described out loud but when I sense we were headed there, what I felt was disappointment – sheer and utter disappointment. And I felt like a failure. Having a family has always been my number one aspiration. I never cared much what job I’d have – I literally picked the one I thought was most compatible with motherhood – and I had no grand expectations of where I’d call home some day. The only thing I cared about, ever, was having a family. And it turns out, I suck at that. For some reason we are no good at having a family. For some reason we struggle against it so completely that the idea of having another child is scarier than it is amazing. For some reason we’ve had to pay someone to help us figure out that we literally cannot do it. Do you know how that feels? To know the one thing you’ve always wanted, the only thing you’ve always wanted, is within your grasp and yet unattainable? That you’ve somehow failed at the only thing you ever really wanted to do? I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s utterly and completely devastating.
I am mourning the very essence of a dream I had. I’m mourning a life in which I motherhood is something that brings me unbridled joy and happiness. I’m mourning the experience of parenthood bringing us closer together instead of driving us farther apart. I’m saying goodbye to any hope that this would feel good and right and easy. Because obviously it’s not any of those things, not for us.
I thought this was what made me so upset about the decisions we made this weekend, but later I realized there was something else I felt I’d lost. Something equally as upsetting. As I tried to wrap my mind around trying again not in one and half months as we’d planned, but in one to two years, I became despondent. This feelings was more than just letting go of the size and shape of the family I’d always hoped to have, this was much more profound.
My first attempt at TTC was a complete and utter cluster fuck. I spent over a year wanting to get started with it but finding myself in a partnership that wasn’t there yet. By the time we were “ready” I was a nervous wreck. That entire year was fueled by anxiety and fear. Worry that I’d never carry a healthy pregnancy. Fear that my child would die before I’d ever get to hold her. My year of trying was largely a negative experience and my pregnancy was marred by intense anxiety. How I handled both situations is one of the great regrets of my life.
Thinking ahead to TTC #2 I felt so hopeful. Starting when we were going to, I felt no pressure to get pregnant quickly and the thought of losses didn’t feel so overwhelming. We had time, we’d probably achieve a healthy pregnancy again, it was going to be different. Having carried a healthy baby to term gave me so much more confidence in my body than I had before. My story was no longer just my mother’s, now it was mine as well, and my story contained happiness and joy. There was no reason to believe it wouldn’t have those things again. This time we were going to do it right. This time we were going to do it without costly treatments and timed and charted sex. This time was going to make up for the mess I made last time. It felt so positive for me, for us. This time was going to bring us closer together, was going to overwrite the mess I made last time, was going to heal us somehow.
Now all of that is gone. If we wait 1-2 years I’ll be in the exact same place I was before, anxious to get started and fearful of what might happen. Every month that we don’t get pregnant will be agony. The possibility of loss will loom, ever present, in my mind. The fact that I’ll quickly be reaching “advanced maternal age” will be sitting, restless, in the background. Everything positive I hoped to experience with the conception, and pregnancy, of my second child has been lost. The thing I most looked forward to in life, carrying a child, will again be an anxiety ridden experience. This is the loss I’m mourning. This is the loss that makes me heart ache in ways I can’t explain.
But I know I don’t have to explain it. I know you all know how much all this hurts. I know I was one of the lucky ones to even have the chance at a positive TTC experience. I know this. And for some reason it makes it all the harder to let it go. Like I’m letting you all down some how. Just like I have by squandering my chance to have a happy family that rejoices in parenthood.
Basically, I’ve just fucked everything up. And I’m so profoundly sorry.